Vocalist and entertainer Halle Bailey is unmistakably carving out a place for herself in Hollywood headlines.
Since her controversial casting as Ariel in the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, Bailey has been a prominent figure in social media news for more than two years.
One part of Chloe x Halle, Bailey’s personal life has been a topic of conversation for months, and her recent appearance with rapper DDG has become the current subject of celebrity gossip that has captured users’ interest.
Bailey and DDG (the rap alias of Darryl Dwayne Granberry Jr) were seen at Usher’s Las Vegas residency on January 2.
The rapper and singer-actress have reportedly been growing closer since November 2021, following DDG’s messy split from Robi Rose a few months earlier.
Rap alert had speculated that Bailey might be DDG’s current romantic partner after a source noticed she was the woman who was “supposedly with him during his family’s vacation last month.”
Bailey’s name has also been trending after Academy Award winner Halle Berry jokingly referenced being mistaken for the vocalist earlier in December.
After a user expressed their excitement to see how Berry would take on the role of Ariel, she retorted:
“… wrong Halle lol. I can’t wait to see her too though!”
Who Is Halle Bailey?
Born March 27, 2000, Bailey and her sister Chloe were passionate musicians from a young age.
After the family relocated to Los Angeles in 2012, Bailey and Chloe commenced composing songs and mastering various instruments through Youtube tutorials.
Their father and manager Doug instructed them on making music when they were 8 and 10, respectively.
Following several minor roles on Disney Channel, the Bailey sisters launched a Youtube channel to showcase their music.
The channel’s initial video was a rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘Best Thing I Never Had,’ with another cover marking the sisters’ first taste of virality.
They chose to perform under Chloe x Halle after gaining moderate social media following, expanding into pop interpretations.
Bailey and her sister made their debut on the talk show The Ellen Show in April 2012.
Chloe x Halle – The Musical Siblings The World Needed
After some of their renditions gained massive attention, the Bailey sisters elected to showcase some of their original tracks.
The two siblings were in negotiations to sign with Parkwood Entertainment in May 2015, the label founded by none other than Beyoncé.
Parkwood extended a five-year agreement to them in 2016, and Chloe and Halle Bailey were hailed as the iconic singer’s first musical protégés, even being dubbed her first prodigies.
The Bailey sisters made their official entry as Chloe x Halle with the release of their EP, Sugar Symphony, in April 2016.
The duo swiftly ascended to stardom after being featured as the opening act for the European leg of Beyoncé’s Formation tour in the summer of 2016.
The sisters’ inaugural album, The Kids Are Alright, was critically acclaimed upon release in 2018 and was accompanied by a visual album – adding professional dancers to the sisters’ burgeoning repertoire.
They garnered their first Grammy Award nods for the album, landing nominations for Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Chloe and Halle scored an additional three nominations following the release of their 2020 album, Ungodly Hour, which peaked at number 16 on the Billboard music chart.
The sophomore album was nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album, Best R&B Song, and Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Halle Bailey as Ariel
On July 3, 2019, Bailey shook social media after Disney revealed that she had landed the role of Ariel the mermaid in the Rob Marshall reinterpretation of The Little Mermaid.
She will also contribute to the film’s soundtrack, and her supporters were thrilled about her imminent silver screen debut.
Nevertheless, the internet did as it does, and even Bailey could not evade the naysayers.
Some internet users were incensed at the selection of a black actress as Ariel, arguing that it would be a departure from the original character if a non-white actress were to take on the role.
Twitter was ablaze with discussions about a black mermaid, with users disseminating biased arguments and opposing any support Bailey was garnering.
It seemed as though many were displeased about the actress not possessing red hair, oblivious to the fact that Bailey would certainly be sporting a red wig for the role.
Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the original film, endorsed Bailey’s casting, affirming:
“I believe that the character’s essence is what truly matters. What you bring to the table in a character in terms of their heart and their spirit is what truly counts. And the external appearance […] it might change the way you interpret the song. But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the spirit of Ariel.”
Benson further added:
“We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, regardless of our race, our nationality, our skin color, our dialect, whether I’m tall or slim, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story.”
Bailey posted a photo taken during filming on Instagram, where many observed that she was wearing CGI makeup, presumably because much of the movie would be digitally rendered.
In her caption, she reflected on her journey in 2021, expressing gratitude to her fans for the opportunities she has received and expressing hope for a brighter year ahead.
“after auditioning for this film when I was 18, just about to turn 19, to now completing filming through a pandemic when I turned 21 […] we have finally made it.” she wrote.
With Bailey at the helm, it seems that the film’s stellar cast will deliver a memorable cinematic experience.
In addition to Bailey, the movie features Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as the sea-witch Ursula, Jacob Tremblay as Ariel’s sidekick Flounder, and Daveed Diggs as the ever-exasperated crab, Sebastian.
It is scheduled for release on May 26, 2023.